Instagram has started to make a habit of borrowing features from Snapchat. The latest bit of inspiration the Facebook-owned social network has taken from Snapchat will allow users to see when someone takes a screenshot of their direct messages.
First noted by Twitter user @travlim, the new alert regarding screenshots will not apply to every screenshot. According to the Verge, users will only get the notification when someone attempts to save temporary photos and videos sent through Instagram Direct. Screenshots taken of a user’s general feed won’t be outed by the update.
The feature is reminiscent of Snapchat, which also gives users a heads up when the recipient of a snap decides to try to save the image via screenshot. Of course Instagram Direct is pretty similar in concept to Snapchat as well, so it seems almost fitting the company would go all out with duplicating features.
Instagram Direct first added the ability to send photos and videos with a time limit earlier this month. The feature allows users to send media that can only be viewed twice before it disappears forever.
Whether the screenshot notification is a case of feature theft or not, it’s pretty obvious why Instagram and Snapchat would implement the alerts: messages sent through the platforms are designed to be temporary and not saved for all eternity, and capturing the images goes against the spirit of the platforms.
The feature appears to be in test phase and not fully rolled out. Instances of the feature have been spotted on iOS but not Android. The most recent version of Instagram available on the iOS App Store makes note of disappearing photos and videos but not the screenshot capability. IBTimes was unable to replicate the feature when tested on an iOS device.
"In the latest version of Direct, you can send disappearing photos and videos to individuals and groups of friends. When someone screenshots your disappearing photo or video, you will get a notification," a spokesperson for Instagram told IBTimes.
It’s unclear if the screenshot notification will remain in place just for the temporary messages or if it will eventually expand throughout the app. The feature has already caused a bit of panic for frequent screenshot takers who fear their habits may be revealed.